This is the beginning of week eight of my 12-week Self-Publishing School course on writing a book. To date, I have written about 5,000 words of my very first book, which I hope will be closer to 25,000 words when it’s finished.
Breakthrough! After trying to get through my “book-related stuckness” by myself, I asked for help. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes to have multiple minds focus on finding a solution to your problem.
It’s also a great lesson to learn about writing a book. I bet that every great book I’ve ever read, and every great book you’ve ever read, is not the result of some lone writer’s independent efforts undertaken by candlelight in some remote log cabin. No, I think great writers and great authors are the lucky recipients of help from dynamite teams of talented editors, publishers, agents, and coaches.
That Darn Outline
While I’ve always known the essence of the book I wanted to write, I was getting stuck on the delivery and organization of the material. After engaging a few colleagues, we are now on track and I fully expect the writing to kick into high gear.
Two points bear mentioning (or repeating if you have read previous blog posts):
1. The outline is important (at least for my thought process). It serves as a jumping off point and makes the concept of writing an entire book more digestible. Faced with 25,000 unwritten words, I felt overwhelmed. I knew what I wanted to say in general, but how would I say it? Where would I put it, and in what order?
Last week I wondered if I had been over-thinking the outline. Several people suggested I simply “let it go,” and dive back into writing even though I didn’t feel 100% sure about the outline I was working with.
Now that I’ve consulted more people and feel much better about the outline, I’m glad I held out until I was happy. Yes, it took quite a bit of time to find the ‘perfect’ outline, and yes, the outline will probably change as the book comes to life, but having a framework I feel comfortable with has removed my mental blocks and allowed the writing to flow once more.
2. Focusing on your outline keeps your book moving forward – even if you’re not technically “writing the book.” If I hadn’t focused on the outline, I’d probably still be struggling with my first 1,000 words.
See, the outline lets you off the hook in a way. If you don’t feel like writing, or have writer’s block, or are unsure of what to do next, the outline provides a focal point. You can still live in the world of your book and make progress on your book without actually writing your book.
This can be a blessing and a curse. For several weeks it was my curse as I became hung up on the outline. But now that I have an outline I love, I realize that all the time I spent on it was not in vain.
I remain fully committed to having the book written by 1 June 2015.
p.s. If you’re interested in writing a book too, be sure to check this blog regularly to follow my journey. You can also get more information on the Self-Publishing School course I’m taking by clicking here.
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